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OpenVPN's Private Tunnel

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LAST UPDATED: May 19th, 2021
Private Tunnel is operated by OpenVPN Technologies.  They provide virtual private networks (VPNs) for individuals (businesses use OpenVPN).  The company was founded in 2002, but Private Tunnel was established as a separate entity in 2008 to focus their offering of VPNs for individuals.

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The Good

  • Free Trial
  • Price
  • Encryption Type
  • Speed
  • Transparency
Free Trial
Private Tunnel does not use a subscription model, and as such doesn't offer a free trial in the way that other companies do. Their customers pay for the data that they actually use, and all new registrants receive free data.
Private Tunnel VPN is not priced as a monthly subscription, rather customers pay for their data use. The first 200MB is free and customers simply purchase blocks of data for their devices to use to connect to the VPN tunnel. According to Private Tunnel, most of their customers use between 90 and 120 GB of data annually. Customers may earn free data by referring friends who in turn register with Private Tunnel VPN. Fixed: $6/month (monthly) or $35/year - includes 7-day trial period, unlimited data access, and can connect up to 3 devices Flexible: $6/month (with additional device) or $35/year (additional Device) - includes 7-day trial period, unlimited data access, and can connect up to 3 devices Data purchased from Private Tunnel does not expire. Customers simply purchase another block of data as they near the end of their quota.
Encryption Type
Since Private Tunnel is owned and operated by OpenVPN Technologies, the company who pioneered OpenVPN encryption, an open-source and highly secure encryption software, it is not a surprise that they only use OpenVPN for their encryption. Experts extoll OpenVPN as the highest current standard for VPN tunnels.
Private Tunnel returned and average speed of was 26 Mbps for downloads and 16 Mbps for uploads. These results were superior even when using a VPN tunnel to those which are averaged for connections speeds for the entire United States, which are 20.8 Mbps (downloads) and 5.2 Mbps (uploads). While is it unusual for a VSP connection to perform better than the average for non-VSP traffic, it is important to note that there are many variables which exist that affect ISP speed and the sample size for the average US speed is significantly larger than that for Private Tunnel's speed tests.
Private Tunnel states their expectations in easy-to-read language on their Terms of Service and Privacy Policies. The brief summary below is simply a snapshot of policies and is not intended to replace the customer's reading of the documents and agreement to them as required by Private Tunnel.

The Bad

  • Customer Support
  • Extra Features
Customer Support
Customer support is not an area which Private Tunnel excels. Despite claims of 24/7 customer service, there are reports from many customers of waiting days for support. Customers attempting to contact the company via social media receive a canned response which directs them to visit the company's website for a 24/7 live chat, but the Review Team (and many customers) were unable to find any way to contact a chat representative on the site. The company operates a Knowledge Base with many questions answered, but does not give customers an option or information to contact a representative of the company as they advertise.
Extra Features
Another area which is lacking with Private Tunnel is their sharing of which extra features that they might have available, such as kill switches, firewalls, etc. Many of the leading companies offer their customers added security via these tools.

The Bottom Line

Private Tunnel is a solid option with a trustworthy parent company. There are some concerns about conflicting information (refunds and availability of customer service) on their site. However, in spite of these concerns, their pricing structure is a definite benefit to many who can save money purchasing a VPN and blocks of data transfer rather than a monthly subscription. The company offers much to their customers and is recommended by eh Review Team as one which merits serious consideration when selecting a VPN.
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